In November 2010, President Alan Kadish appointed a broadly representative Task Force on Academic Integrity to examine the issue of Academic Integrity throughout the Touro College and University System. The Task Force was charged with the following mission:
In addressing the issues raised by the President, the Touro College and University System, under the leadership of the Task Force, joined the International Center for Academic Integrity (based in Clemson University), conducted surveys of faculty, administration, and students, and examined best practices in all areas concerning academic integrity both within the Touro College and University System and throughout academic institutions nationally and internationally. The Task Force has sought to define Policies and Procedures that are clear, uniform, and appropriate to address issues of Academic Integrity at Touro. The Touro College and University System owes a debt of gratitude to the Presidential Task Force, the members of which are listed in the Appendix.
In developing the TCUS Policy on Academic Integrity, the Task Force drew freely from exemplary policy documents that were already in place within units of the Touro College and University System, including those of the New York Medical College, the Touro College School of Health Sciences, Touro University-California and Touro University-Nevada. A college-wide survey was conducted in conjunction with Dr. Donald McCabe at Rutgers University, President of the Center for Academic Integrity. His participation and advice have been invaluable.
This document contains a Statement on Academic Integrity Policy followed by a comprehensive presentation of Violations of Academic Integrity. Additionally, this document provides Best Practices in the Promotion of Academic Integrity to be adopted by faculty, staff, and students regarding training, test administration, and plagiarism detection. Finally, the document delineates Procedures in Response to Violations of Academic Integrity, and contains Recommendations on Implementation of this Policy.
As Dr. Kadish instructed the Task Force, “The issue of Academic Integrity is one that affects every unit and individual involved in academic life.” It is our hope that the Policies and Procedures Statement will foster Academic Integrity throughout the Touro College and University System.
Touro College and University System is a community of scholars and learners committed to maintaining the highest standards of personal integrity in all aspects of our professional and academic lives. Because intellectual integrity is a hallmark of scholarly and scientific inquiry as well as a core value of the Jewish tradition, students and faculty are expected to share a mutual respect for teaching, learning and the development of knowledge. They are expected to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, fairness, professional conduct of academic work and respect for all community members.
Academic dishonesty undermines our shared intellectual culture and our ability to trust one another. Faculty and administration bear a major responsibility for promoting a climate of integrity, both in the clarity with which they state their expectations and in the vigilance with which they monitor students. Students must avoid all acts of dishonesty, including, but not limited to, cheating on examinations, fabricating, tampering, lying and plagiarizing, as well as facilitating or tolerating the dishonesty of others. Academic dishonesty lowers scholastic quality and defrauds those who will eventually depend on the knowledge and integrity of our graduates.
The Touro College and University System views violations of academic integrity with the utmost gravity. Such violations will lead to appropriate sanctions, up to and including expulsion from the college community. We commit ourselves to the shared vision of academic excellence that can only flourish in a climate of integrity.
The Touro College and University System’s policy on academic integrity, which is outlined in this document, is designed to guide students as they prepare assignments, take exams, and perform the work necessary to complete their degree requirements, and to provide a framework for faculty in fostering an intellectual environment based on the principles of academic integrity. It is presented here in order to educate the faculty on the enforcement of the policy.
The International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI), of which the Touro College and University System is a member, identifies five fundamental values of academic integrity that must be present if the academic life of an institution is to flourish: Honesty, Trust, Fairness, Respect, and Responsibility.1 To sustain these values, the TCUS Academic Integrity Policy,2 requires that a student or researcher:
Adherence to these principles is necessary to ensure that:
Failure to uphold the principles of academic integrity threatens not only the reputation of Touro, but also the value of each and every degree awarded by the institution. All members of the Touro community bear a shared responsibility for ensuring that the highest standards of academic integrity are upheld.
The Touro College and University System administration is responsible for working with faculty and students to promote an institutional culture of academic integrity, for providing effective educational programs that create a commitment to academic integrity, and for establishing fair procedures to deal with allegations of violations of academic integrity.
The following are considered to be violations of academic integrity and are prohibited by the Touro College and University System. Students, faculty, and other members of the Touro College and University System community who commit one of the offenses listed below, or similar such offenses, or those who assist in the commission of such offenses, may be subject to sanctions (i.e. classed as A, B, or C, as described below in the section “Procedures in Response to Violations of Academic Integrity”).
Plagiarism is defined as the unauthorized use of the writings, ideas and/or computer-generated material of others without appropriate acknowledgement and the representation of them as one’s own original work. Plagiarism encompasses acts of inadvertent failure to acknowledge sources, as well as improper attribution due to poor citation.
When using ideas/words from other sources, the student must clearly define the sources using standard methods of citation. Plagiarism can occur even when one does not use the exact words of another author. Paraphrasing written material by changing or rearranging words without the proper attribution is still considered plagiarism (even if it eludes identification by plagiarism detection software). It is therefore critically important that students understand how to cite. If students have any questions about the proper use and citation of material from other sources, they should seek help from their professors.
Plagiarism takes many forms. Flagrant forms, or intentional plagiarism, include, but are not limited to: purchasing a paper; commissioning another to draft a paper on one’s behalf; intentionally copying a paper regardless of the source and whether or not that paper has been published; copying or cutting and pasting portions of others’ work (whether a unique phrase, sentence, paragraph, chart, picture, figure, method or approach, experimental results, statistics, etc.) without attribution; and in the case of clinical documentation, copying clinical notes/materials without personally performing the patient examination. Plagiarized sources may include, but are not limited to, print material, computer programs, CD-ROM video/audio sources, emails and material from social media sites and blogs, as well as assignments completed by other students at Touro College and University System and elsewhere. A more subtle, but equally flagrant, form is paraphrasing or attempting to put in one’s own words the theories, opinions or ideas of another without proper citation.
Additionally, students may not reuse their own previous work without appropriate citation. This is a form of plagiarism called self-plagiarism, and may mislead the reader or grader into the erroneous belief that the current submission is new work to satisfy an assignment.
If students are unsure as to whether a fact or idea is common knowledge, they should consult their instructor or librarian, or else provide appropriate citations.
Plagiarism is not only the failure to cite, but the failure to cite sources properly. If a source is cited but in an inadequate way, the student may still be guilty of unintentional plagiarism. It is therefore crucial that students understand the correct way to cite. The rules are relatively simple:
In its policies and disciplinary procedures, the Touro College and University System will seek to recognize and differentiate between intentional plagiarism, as defined above, and failure to cite sources properly (unintentional plagiarism). While both forms are violations of the Academic Integrity Policy, a student’s first instance of unintentional plagiarism may only be penalized with a Class C sanction (see sanctions below).
Cheating is defined as improperly obtaining and/or using unauthorized information or materials to gain an advantage on work submitted for evaluation. Providing or receiving assistance unauthorized by the instructor is also considered cheating.
Examples of cheating include, but are not limited to:
Examples of unauthorized assistance include:
Failure to comply with any and all Touro College and University System test procedures will be considered a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy.
The integrity of the scientific enterprise requires adherence to the highest ethical standards in the conduct of research and research training. Therefore, students and other trainees conducting research are bound by the same ethical guidelines that apply to faculty investigators, based on the Public Health Service regulations dated May 17, 2005.
Research misconduct is defined in the USPHS Policy as “fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results.”3
These terms are defined as follows:
(a) fabrication - making up data or results and recording or reporting them;
(b) falsification - manipulating research materials, equipment or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record;
(c) plagiarism - the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit. Research misconduct does not include honest error or honest differences of opinion.
Misleading or fraudulent behavior, put simply, is lying, and includes acts contributing to or associated with lying. It takes on any form of fabrication, falsification or misrepresentation.
Examples include, but are not limited to:
Tampering is the unauthorized removal or alteration of College documents (e.g., library books, reference materials, official institutional forms, correspondence), software, equipment, or other academic-related materials, including other students’ work. It should be noted that tampering as a form of cheating may also be classified as criminal activity and may be subject to criminal prosecution.
Examples include, but are not limited to:
Academic integrity prohibits the making of unauthorized copies of copyrighted material, including software and any other non-print media. Individuals, under the legal doctrine of “fair use,” may make a copy of an article or copy small sections of a book for personal use, or may use an image to help teach a concept. Examples of copyright violations include:
The "fair use doctrine" regarding use of copyrighted materials can be found at the following link: http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html
Academic integrity is the responsibility of all members of the Touro College and University System. As educators, we are obligated to demonstrate by word and action the importance of this core value. As members of the Touro College and University System, faculty members are committed to the pursuit of truth and the advancement of knowledge, tasks that can be realized only in an environment fully supportive of academic integrity. Faculty members are therefore expected to participate fully in establishing an academic environment in which the principles of integrity are understood and practiced by students.
Since promoting academic integrity is a shared responsibility, it is important that appropriate training and support be offered to both faculty and staff throughout the school year.
- Faculty development programs shall include training regarding educational resources to promote academic integrity, such as articles/case studies, websites and tutorials.
- Faculty development shall also include training in examination security and plagiarism prevention, including how to detect different types of plagiarism and awareness of proper citation.
- Orientation, Faculty Development Days, and Faculty Assembly shall include opportunities to disseminate the policies and disciplinary procedures of Academic Integrity at the Touro College and University System.
Factors that may influence cheating and plagiarism among students are grade pressure, time pressure, task pressure, negative personal attitude, lack of awareness, and lack of competence. It is, therefore, important to provide adequate training of students regarding all of the relevant parts of this Academic Integrity policy, as well as with as much education and as many opportunities as possible to learn about citation styles, proper writing skills, and plagiarism avoidance.
Students may find online resources, such as this self-test, "How much have you learned about Plagiarism" useful in clarifying how prepared they are in this area. This test is available to TCUS students via the Touro College Library Website.
Student Orientation programs shall include sessions on Touro’s Academic Integrity policy, and each student shall be provided with a copy of the policy at that time. Furthermore, each student must sign an honor statement. Since many Touro schools or units are mission-based or profession-oriented, the ethical values of the school mission should be referenced in the statement. Students will also be required to complete a library-developed session or sessions that demonstrate research method, information literacy, and proper use of sources.
Faculty members are expected to promote academic integrity in the following ways in their classes:
- Describe academic integrity policies on the first day of class, and refer, in class, to the policy of the Touro College and University System, including appeal processes.
- Include a clear statement in the class syllabus with a reference to the Touro College and University System’s academic integrity policy (including the website where the policy may be found).
- Create process-based or plagiarism-proof assignments (examples are abundant and available, if needed). Require up-to-date references. Assign oral reports.
- Require that all term reports be submitted electronically, preferably through Blackboard. Students must be informed that the submitted material will be checked by the instructor for plagiarism.
- Professors may choose to add an honor pledge to each written assignment and exam for students to sign.
In order to reduce the opportunity for cheating on examinations, faculty members should employ the following best practices whenever possible:
- Modify or replace a significant portion of the exam questions each time an exam is re-administered in a course or administered in a separate section.
- For courses with large numbers of students and close seating, prepare multiple versions of an exam for that section.
- Prepare different versions of multiple choice exams for use in EACH section of a course, and two separate exams for very large sections.
- Develop, to the extent possible, “cheat proof” essay or problem-solving questions.
- Prepare a different version of the exam for make-up exams.
A copy of each examination is to be filed with the Department Chairperson or Dean so that he or she can maintain a historical file on exams used in the course.
- Type exams on a secure computer. Do not use Touro computer labs, where students, work/study students and/or lab technicians can access the files.
- Print and copy exams on secure printers and copiers.
- When duplicating examinations, do the copying yourself, or have a trustworthy administrative assistant do the copying for you. Ensure that all original copies are removed from the copiers and copy room.
- Store exams in a secure place, such as the Department office or the faculty member’s paper or computer files. All exams must be stored in locked file cabinets and secured computers.
- Be present during examinations and actively proctor your own examinations. The Touro College and University System may supplement the proctoring by assigning extra proctors.
- Do not permit students to have any electronic devices (including cell phones, smartphones, iPADs or other tablet computers, and flash drives) or personal belongings (purses, backpacks) at their desks during the examination.
- Separate students by at least one seat, if space permits.
- Maintain control of the paper (including scrap) used during the exams.
- Use appropriate web-browser lock-down software, and a web-cam, as appropriate.
- If students are permitted to review their exams, conduct the post-exam review in a secure manner, just as you administered the test.
- All exams must be collected at the end of the review period.
The Touro College and University System offers SafeAssign, a plagiarism detection system accessed through Blackboard. SafeAssign helps faculty prevent plagiarism by detecting unoriginal content in student papers. Though not 100% foolproof, particularly in instances of paraphrase or translation, SafeAssign does act as a plagiarism deterrent, and has features designed to help educate students about plagiarism and the importance of proper attribution of any “borrowed” content.
In addition to SafeAssign, faculty can avail themselves of other anti-plagiarism search engines such as Yahoo! Google, Google Scholar, Plagiarism.Org, AltaVista,Lycosand library databases.
There are many excellent sources of information on plagiarism detection. One of the best is Harris, R.A. (2001). The Plagiarism Handbook. Glendale, CA: Pyrczak Publishing.
BEST PRACTICES IN THE PROMOTION OF ACADEMIC INTEGRITY IN ONLINE EDUCATION
The Touro College and University System is particularly sensitive to the challenges of academic integrity in online education because of the physical separation between faculty member and student. The online teaching environment poses specific difficulties regarding the administration of examinations and the assessment of student work. These challenges compel the College and University System to be conversant with developments and best practices in the field of online education, and to be receptive to both new opportunities and challenges associated with emerging technologies as they are being developed and implemented.
Following are a number of best practices for promoting academic integrity in online education:6
- Admission to online educational programs should be monitored carefully to ensure the integrity of the admissions application process as well as materials submitted to support the admissions application.
- A secure student login and personalized password (meeting identity management system standards) should be required to access online courses and related resources, discussions, assignments and assessments. Information gathered as part of the identity management system for these purposes must be safeguarded carefully to protect student privacy.
- Guidance on academic integrity issues in online education should be incorporated routinely in the training and orientation materials provided to online faculty.
- A link to the Touro College and University System Academic Integrity website should be provided to online faculty for incorporation in their course materials.
- Online faculty should be made aware of general Touro College and University System policies and procedures on academic integrity and the reporting procedure (see below) in the instance that suspected violations of academic integrity are discovered. Touro’s Vice President of Online Education should also be notified of any action or decision concerning online academic integrity violations.
- Faculty members should present clearly the academic integrity policy within the online learning environment at the beginning of the course. The course outline for the online course should contain an explicit heading and section on ACADEMIC INTEGRITY in which appropriate guidelines and policies would be detailed. Faculty should offer the students the opportunity to discuss the meaning of academic integrity using the course discussion board or chat room. The URL link to the Touro College and University System Academic Integrity policy should be included in course postings.
- Students should be required to read and sign an agreement to abide by the campus academic integrity policy. An effective way of accomplishing this is through a check-off box on the home page of the online course.
- In the instance that collaborative projects are assigned, faculty should clarify to students in writing under a specific course headline the appropriate ground rules for collaboration in online education. The consequences for failure to abide by the guidelines provided should be clarified in writing.
- Rubrics, or detailed grading criteria, should be provided for every assignment at the beginning of the course, so that students understand how they will be graded.
- Ensuring the academic integrity of the assessment of student learning is an essential faculty responsibility. Therefore, faculty must be actively involved in structuring appropriate course assessment. Faculty may choose to use multiple assessment techniques in place of, or to lessen reliance on, final examinations. Indeed, most distance learning providers use multi-faceted assessment strategies rather than traditional final examinations. Assessments should be designed to be frequent, varied, and directly relevant to course learning objectives. One suggestion would be to make assignments cumulative (students turn in parts of a project or paper throughout the semester) to minimize opportunities for fraudulent submissions. Examples of learning and assessment activities include: interactive threaded discussions, writing assignments, quizzes, capstone projects, group work, and online exams.
- Assessment activities should be modified from semester to semester.
- Instructors should become familiar with students' writing styles through multiple submissions and online discussions.
- Plagiarism detection software (such as SafeAssign or Turnitin) should always be used for written assignments.
- Both the research process and the product should be evaluated. After an assignment is due, have students post on the discussion board, describing the assignment and the research method used, a summary of conclusions, and an abstract (a meta-learning essay).
- Since the Touro College and University System is a multi-campus institution, it may be possible to provide physically- proctored examinations on campus for regular Touro students undertaking a course through distance learning. In these instances, faculty members are encouraged to use proctored test sites as appropriate. The primary responsibility for proctoring an examination remains with the instructor, wherever that is possible. For undergraduate courses, the assignment of any proctor other than the instructor must be at the direction of the Dean of Faculties or his/her designee. For graduate courses, the assignment of any proctor other than the instructor must be at the direction of the Dean/Director of the program.
- Students must be asked to provide a Touro ID or government-issued photo ID when they participate in a physically-proctored examination for a distance learning course. Students should be informed of this requirement when the examination is scheduled.
- In the instance that an examination is given online, faculty must be aware of academic integrity issues in the administration of these exams and consider appropriate steps to minimize these issues, such as those described below:
◦ Use test banks with large numbers of questions and pull a smaller number of questions from the test bank.
◦ Randomize the order of answers for multiple-choice questions, so that, for example, the correct answer for a particular question might be “a” for one student and “b” for another.
◦ Require forced completion on exams, so that students cannot re-enter a test.
◦ A Web browser lock-down service should be used during testing so that students cannot leave the exam once they have started.
- A variety of technological solutions to minimize the potential for cheating on online examinations are emerging, including online proctoring services and biometric measuring devices. At this point, the Touro College and University System has adopted no standard proctoring technology or approach for all online examinations. However, Touro will continue to monitor such technology, and such technology may be adopted by individual units on a pilot basis in coordination with the Touro Vice President of Online Education.
The following sanctions may be imposed for violation of this Policy. Sanctions of one class may be accompanied by sanctions of a lesser or greater class. Except in the case of a student’s expulsion or dismissal, any student found to have violated this Policy is required to take additional ethics tutorials intended to assist student to avoid future misconduct.
Class A Sanctions:
Class B Sanctions:
Class C Sanctions:
Repeat offenders may be subject to more stringent sanctions.
This Touro College and University System Academic Integrity Policy applies to all Touro students. Any act in violation of this Policy or any allegation of misconduct related to this Policy involving a student must be reported and addressed in accordance with the adjudication procedures outlined below or those of the student’s school, which may not be less stringent than the requirements and standards set forth in this Policy Statement.
The Dean of each school shall designate a member of the administration as Chief Academic Integrity Officer (herein referred to as the “CAI Officer”) to oversee the adjudication of violations and to maintain appropriate documentation. The CAI Officer must be an assistant dean or higher, or another appropriate responsible individual approved by the Provost or Vice President. The Provost shall designate a Dean responsible for hearing formal resolution appeals (herein referred to as the “Appeals Dean”). The CAI Officer and the Appeals Dean cannot be the same individual.
Faculty members, students, or other members of the Touro community who encounter suspected academic integrity violations should contact the Chair of the relevant department. The Chair will consult with the faculty member, and if a violation is identified the faculty member will inform the student. The Chair will also report all violations in writing (using the Academic Integrity Violation Reporting Form) to the CAI Officer. No permanent grade may be entered onto the student’s record for the course in question before the issue is resolved.
If an instructor strongly suspects cheating during an exam, the instructor should stop the student’s exam and collect all evidence of cheating. The incident should be immediately reported to the Chair, who will investigate and report in writing to the CAI officer.
Incidents of academic integrity violations are reported to the department Chairperson, and a report by the Chair is submitted to the CAI Officer. The method of resolution of the violation may be either informal or formal. Students who are found to have violated the Touro College and University System’s Standards of Academic Integrity are subject to the sanctions listed above.
Should a student action be of such a serious nature that it is felt that he/she may be considered a danger in a clinical setting, the CAI Officer or the department Chair may remove such a student from a clinical assignment, not to exceed fourteen (14) days pending the outcome of a formal resolution. A student shall not be removed from a didactic course while an allegation of an academic integrity violation is ongoing.
After consulting with the department Chair (as per “Reporting a Case of Suspected Plagiarism or Cheating”), the faculty member may attempt to resolve the issue informally with the student. Once an informal resolution is agreed to between the faculty member and the student, the faculty member must present such resolution and the sanctions imposed to the department Chair for approval. The faculty member, in consultation with the department Chair, may impose any range of Class C sanctions, but must include requiring the student to take additional ethics tutorials intended to assist that student avoid future misconduct. Once accepted by the student, the informal resolution is binding on both the student and faculty member, and cannot be appealed by the student.
The outcome of the informal resolution should be reported in writing by the department Chair to the CAI Officer, who will maintain the record for the duration of the student’s academic career.
The informal resolution process is not available to individuals who have been previously reported.
In the event that (1) the student denies the charge, (2) the student and faculty member do not agree to informal resolution, (3) the student has been accused and found guilty before, or (4) for any other reason for which informal resolution is not appropriate as determined by the department Chair or the CAI Officer, then the matter shall be submitted for formal resolution.
The Touro College and University System has developed the following formal method of resolution to deal with academic integrity allegations and complaints.
To institute formal resolution, the following procedures shall be followed:
Committee Hearings will proceed under the following guidelines:
The Committee shall reach a decision using the following guidelines:
A copy of the Appeals Dean’s final decision will be transmitted to the CAI Officer and the department Chair.
A student has three (3) business days from receipt of written notification to submit a formal written appeal of the decision to the respective Chief Academic Officer (CAO) (e.g., the Provost or Senior Provost) or his/her designee. The CAO may grant an appeal only on the basis of one of the following:
The CAO may conduct interviews and review materials, as appropriate. The CAO will notify the student, the CAI Officer, and the Appeals Dean in writing of the appeal decision. The decision of the CAO shall be final.
Pending resolution on charges, the status of the student will not be altered except in cases where the student may be considered a danger in a clinical setting. Such a student may be suspended only from the clinical aspect of their program pending the outcome of a formal resolution. If a student is suspended for any reason, all as-yet-undisbursed financial aid may be withheld unless or until the action is fully resolved and the student is reinstated. If reinstated, the financial aid funds can be released to the student. If the student is dismissed, the funds will be returned to the proper agency or lender.
The CAI Officer of each school will maintain records of all violations and resolutions, both informal and formal. On an annual basis, the CAI Officer will submit data on academic integrity violations to the TCUS Academic Integrity Council.
Such records shall be kept in accordance with the Record Retention Policy as it relates to student records.
A student may see his/her file in accordance with Touro College and University System regulations concerning inspection of records as spelled out in Guidelines for Access to and Disclosure of Educational Records Maintained by the Touro College and University System.
Updated September 2015